The power of Instagram is well documented. The photo and video sharing platform has skyrocketed into one of the biggest online social media environments where over 1 billion active monthly users engage. Instagram has opened the door to a new age of personal communication, but also a world where brands and businesses can effectively market to their target audience(s). 

 

However, marketing on Instagram isn’t just shooting fish in a barrel, it requires a multitude of factors to successfully identify, advertise, and funnel leads through the buying process. Here are some tools within Instagram itself to help improve your platform marketing strategy. 

Hashtags 

Hashtags can seem cheesy, but they are a critical part of exposing your post to potentially interested parties (i.e. boosting awareness). Using relevant hashtags to your business, products, and services helps introduce your post to Instagram users who follow or search that same hashtag(s). Therefore, it is important to do research on your competitors and target audience and understand what hashtags they are using in their posts or are searching for through the Instagram Discover Page.  

Encourage Location Tags 

Location tags are another way to help increase brand awareness through organic posting. For example, a post created by you may use the geolocation tag of the city of “Los Angeles.” Now people in the Los Angeles area, or searching the hashtag under the Discover Page are more likely to run into your post. Additionally, if you are a dispensary, encouraging your customers to use a geolocation tag for your business when they post about using your products or services also helps increase your brand awareness.  

Switch to a Business Profile 

A business profile opens a new world of possibilities for your Instagram account. Compared to a personal profile, a business account is able to have a direct “contact us” button added at the top of your profile that allows consumers to reach you in your desired method. A business profile allows you to create and publish ads without the need of Facebook tools, but most importantly, this profile type gives you access to Instagram Insights. This analytic tool allows you to view and breakdown various measurements of your profile and posting success. You can see what your audience demographics look like (age, gender, location, etc.), what days and times you see the most engagement, how many impressions and engagements each individual post receives, and more. These analytics are critical to helping better understand your audience and creating content to fit their likes. 

Sponsored Ads (if possible) 

With the strict paid advertising regulations that surround cannabis and cannabis-related products, Instagram ads might not be possible for your specific business. However, if you are an auxiliary company or just trying to run a brand awareness campaign that doesn’t promote cannabis, then these sponsored ads are worth the investment. With paid Instagram ads, you can have your content pushed in front of specific audiences and receive a set number of impressions based on your desired budget. This is a great way to expand your already established market. 

Instagram Stories 

Instagram Stories is a few years old, but still not enough brands and businesses are taking advantage of this marketing tool. Fashioned similar to Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories allows people to post to 15-second clips to their profile that disappear after 24 hours. With the ability to post nearly countless Stories to your profile, this marketing tool is a great way to post updates, promotions, and less formal content that doesn’t require a full Instagram feed photo or video. Instagram Stories is a great way to show off the personality to your business. 

 

Instagram Influencers (if applicable) 

Influencer marketing continues to be a hot trend in 2020, and often produces a good ROI for businesses. Influencer marketing is also a way to put dollars behind your product and produce sponsored content without breaking any Instagram rules and regulations of cannabis promotion. By partnering with an influencer, you can have an individual or a series of posts, Stories, IGTV videos, etc. in which they promote your product or service to their followers. This is a great way of introducing your business to a motivated audience. 

Leverage Your Bio 

Your Instagram bio is easy to overlook, but it plays an important role in your platform marketing. It is best practice to use your bio to succinctly state what your business is and does. This is often the messaging that sticks with a profile visitor — so you don’t want any mixed messaging happening. In addition, ALWAYS use the URL spot — this helps move traffic to your site, landing page, etc.